Cruise Styles

At Cruise Select, we want to ensure that each of your cruising experiences are exceptional - whether you are a seasoned cruiser or a first timer.

Cruising is a perfect choice of holiday for all generations, so it is not surprising that the popularity of cruising has soared over the past couple of decades. But for a first-timer, cruising may seem a little confusing, and you may feel all at sea - but don't worry, our cruise specialists have many years' experience and a wealth of knowledge to help you! Even if you've been cruising for years, you may like to try something new, like switching from ocean to river cruising, or perhaps you might like to celebrate a special anniversary with a luxury cruise for the first time, or even an expedition cruise. Again, our cruise specialists can help find the right cruise for you.

A CRUISE FOR EVERYONE

Cruising consistently receives the highest customer satisfaction ratings throughout the travel industry, and is fast becoming the go-to choice for holidays. Why? Well, we could list a myriad of reasons ranging from the incredible onboard amenities, the excellent food, to the all-inclusive price tags or the impeccable service, but put simply - it's because cruises offer something for everyone. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' in cruising, which really is the beauty of it.

Whether you are a family, a couple, a solo traveller, an adventure-junky, a foodie, a luxury lover, a culture vulture or even a nudist, you will find a cruise specifically tailored to your needs - and our dedicated cruise specialists are on hand to find your ideal cruise!

To make your cruise extra-special, and that little bit more 'you', Cruise Select can offer a tailor-made cruise service. As we arrange your first ever cruise holiday from scratch, you won't have to compromise or worry about a thing! Simply tell us your needs, interests, timescale and budget - and leave the rest to us!

Where can I cruise?

The vast majority of cruising is on the oceans, which can take you to all seven continents, including Antarctica! But you can also enjoy a river cruise, exploring rivers and waterways inland across Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa.

There are two ways you can start your ocean cruise, directly from the UK itself (sometimes called 'ex-UK'), or fly to join the ship in its embarkation destination (sometimes, you might even prefer to reach the destination by rail, if you so desire).

With no need for flights, and an increasing number of sailings from UK regional ports, it's becoming more popular for cruisers to enjoy the convenience of sailing out of the UK.From ports such as Dover and Southampton - and, increasingly, Hull, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol Avonmouth, Plymouth, Harwich, Tilbury, Belfast, Greenock, Rosyth, Leith, and (coming soon) London Greenwich - cruise passengers can discover a wide range of destinations, including Caribbean cruises, trans-Atlantic and Canada and North America cruises, and Norwegian Fjord cruises, Baltic cruises, Mediterranean cruises, and of course, Britain and Ireland cruises, as well as longer voyages, such as world cruises.

Cruise Select can arrange car parking at your own chosen port, or help with coach transfers, if required - just give us a call for more information.

Fly cruises enable you to conveniently start your cruise holiday from its first port of call - particularly useful if the cruise is visiting exotic, far-flung destinations, or if you want to spend more time ashore before or after your cruise. With our tailor-made cruise options, you can combine a cruise with an extended stay before or after your cruise, to relax and explore. It's no wonder cruise-and-stay holidays are becoming increasingly popular over the last few years!

How long can cruises be?

Cruises can range from just one night to over 100 nights!

If you're a first-time cruiser, a mini cruise offers an excellent chance to see for yourself what to expect from a cruise, getting a taste for life at sea - and you may very well find yourself returning for longer sailings! If you're a frequent cruiser, a mini cruise also offers a short getaway, to enjoy all your favourite maritime indulgences.

Generally speaking, a mini cruise will sail from two to five or six nights. Many mini cruises leaving the UK (usually from Southampton) will sail to just one port for an overnight stay (if a two-night mini cruise; longer itineraries will visit more), commonly visiting Belgium, France, the Channel Islands, or Ireland. Slightly longer sailings will head further afield to include the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam), Germany, the Shetland Isles, Norway (Bergen), andSpain. However mini cruises originated in Miami and South Florida with three or four night cruises to the Bahamas, or New York to Bermuda; these are still popular today, and would make for a fun tailored fly-cruise package with an extended stay in America or the Caribbean.

Some mini-cruises will have a theme, perhaps a comedy or a music theme, or visiting Christmas markets or European battlefields or to see the Northern Lights, and they're generally more informal. They're becoming increasingly popular with hen or stag parties, or to mark special occasionssuch as wedding anniversaries or particular birthdays, often with multiple generations of families cruising together.

A 'world cruise' evokes a rather romantic image, reminiscent of the grand age of ocean travel, as you spend on average 100 nights cruising the high seas, exploring the world from the comfort of a floating hotel.

Many world cruises leave from the UK on a round trip, so there will be no need to fly at all. Generally departing in January, they are available in their entirety, or you may choose to join smaller segments of about 10 to 90 nights, often called 'Grand Voyages', adding more flexibility to suit your time, interests and budget.

It's usually advisable to book your world cruise (or Grand Voyage) in advance to ensure availability, particularly if a particular sector of the itinerary sells out, making it impossible to book the entire itinerary.

What sort of ship is right for me?

This is where we come in, as we can 'matchmake' you with the right cruise line for your interests, budget, and requirements. For some, destination and itinerary are the most important factor, and will cruise with a variety of different cruise lines, depending on who is offering the best itinerary at the time they want to cruise. For others, onboard amenities and ambience are important, whether they prefer a wide range of bars, dining, and entertainment venues to choose from, or would rather have a more intimate experience; going further, level of formality onboard can be make-or-break. Some people relish the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a gala dinner, while others prefer a more relaxed atmosphere onboard their cruise. Our expert knowledge and first-hand experience of the cruising industry enables us to find the perfect fit for you.

I'm a solo traveller - is cruising for me?

As we've already said, there really is a cruise out there for everyone, and rest assured - cruising is not only one of the best ways to travel, but one of the easiest, stress-free and safest ways for people without a plus-one to travel the world - and solo cruises are more popular than you might think!

A number of cruise lines offer a special category of single cabins for solo cruisers, liberating solo travellers from having to pay twice for the right to travel alone - plus other cruise lines periodically offer low or no single supplements on itineraries, which our cruise specialists can help find for you.

Once onboard, cruise lines ensure that everything is done to welcome their solo travellers and make them comfortable throughout the cruise. As a single passenger, you can join the solo travellers' welcome party at the start of your cruise, which is a great way to break the ice and meet like-minded travellers. The single passengers programmes feature dance partner pairings, dining with other solo cruisers and many exciting activities that are perfect for making new friends.

Once you have booked your cruise, you may have access to an online community where you can chat with other single cruisers before your ship departs.

Of course, if you're unsure about travelling solo, give us a call or pop into our shop in Bedford, and your cruise specialist will happily allay your fears and concerns about going it alone, and provide you with all the information you need! Or perhaps you'd like to sign up to receive our e-mail updates on solo offers.

Can I bring the whole family on a cruise?

Cruises are a wonderful way for all the family to have fun together; with highly organised entertainment programmes aimed at toddlers, tweens and teens, there will never be a dull moment onboard! Mum and dad can enjoy a well-earned rest and a refreshing drink by the pool while the kids are busy having the time of their lives playing with the onboard facilities and meeting other kids, or the whole family can enjoy activities together. Multi-generational cruises are increasing in popularity, and are a wonderful way for families to celebrate milestone birthdays or wedding anniversaries, or just simply spend time together.

A wide range of family suites are offered by most cruise lines, featuring connecting rooms, so that both parents and children can enjoy their own space. Plus you'll find children's favourite dishes on all family cruises - including hot dogs and pizza, as well as healthier options, such as salads, vegetables, pasta and fruit. Children can dine with their parents for all meal, and babies are also catered for. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the selection of baby foods available on cruise lines, speak to one of our dedicated cruise specialists.

Onboard baby-sitting and crèche services will leave parents safe in the knowledge that their little ones are being well looked after by qualified child minders, giving them the opportunity to spend some quality time together.

What's the difference with luxury cruises?

The word ‘luxury’ may at times be over-used, and is described in the English Oxford dictionary as ‘comfortable and expensive living or surroundings’ or ‘something enjoyable but not essential’. It’s often associated with opulence, grandeur, splendour, and indulgence. In cruising, luxury means exotic itineraries, sublime gourmet food, exquisite wine, a high crew-to-passenger ratio to deliver exemplary service, and inclusive prices. So why not experience and define ‘luxury’ for yourself as you discover the world in the most glamorous and comfortable way possible aboard a luxury cruise?

The standards of luxury cruising have reached unprecedented heights over the last decade, and look to continue reaching unparalleled levels as stunning new ships continue to be built, each surpassing its contemporaries, seeking to offer the utmost in terms of luxury, service, grandeur and onboard facilities. Each cruise line offers their own unique luxury cruise experience, and it’s important to find the one that is right for you – our dedicated luxury cruise specialists at Cruise Select will be happy to talk you through the wide range of ultra- and premium-luxury river and ocean cruise offers.

If you would like to find out more about luxury cruising, you can sign up to receive our luxury cruise offers by email.

Expedition cruising

The perfect way to visit real off-the-beaten track locations, expedition and adventure cruises enable those looking for something entirely different to experience some of the most stunning, remote and unexplored regions on the planet - from the polar ice caps to the tropical Galapagos Islands. With technology ever improving and guests increasingly yearning for something different, the itineraries available for expedition are expanding.

Much smaller than most ocean cruise ships, expedition vessels have shallow drafts to ease navigation and access those lesser-known, out-of-reach ports and islands, and are accompanied by an experienced expedition team. Onboard, there's a greater focus on enrichment and talks, rather than the traditional entertainment programmes typical of cruising. Scientifically-oriented guest lecturers provide incredible insight into the history, geography, culture and ecology of the destinations the ship will be visiting, preparing guests to hit the ground running so they're ready to explore. Academics, researchers and authors are common both as lecturers and passengers, adding to the enrapturing after-dinner conversations.

Expedition cruises offer a much more fluid and flexible schedule, to take advantage of weather and sea conditions, as well as sightings of rare wildlife - plus unscheduled landings are not uncommon, adding to the thrills and spontaneity of this unique cruise type! Although there is often a cross-over with luxury and expedition cruising (for example, both Silversea and Seabourn offer expedition cruises), the atmosphere onboard is much more informal.

Start your unforgettable adventure today by contacting or visiting our dedicated cruise specialists.

River cruising - what's the difference?

As a relaxed, elegant, and sophisticated way to explore the inland waterways, canals and rivers of beautiful countries, offering chic accommodation, high quality amenities and exquisite cuisine, it's no surprise that river cruising has become more popular over the years. Although there are, of course, differences between each river cruise line, you're more likely to find that drinks (including wines and beers) are included with lunch and dinner at the very least, as well as your shore excursions, making river cruising great value for money, and more inclusive than most ocean cruises.

Popular river cruise destinations include the Danube, the Rhine, the Moselle, the Douro, the Seine, and - further afield - the Mississippi, the mighty Mekong, Yangzte, the Irrawaddy, and the Nile. With durations generally between 7-21 days, river cruising provides the perfect opportunity to explore delightful villages, cities and towns, take in some stunning scenery as the river boat serenely glides along the river, and make new and enduring friendships with like-minded fellow passengers. It is often said that ocean cruising takes you to countries, but river cruising takes you through countries, which is one of its enduring charms. River ships are not confined to coastlines, but can take guests to off-the-beaten track towns and villages, as well as historic cities.

While ocean ships come in a greater range of sizes, and can boast a multitude of bars, dining and entertainment venues, and even go-karting tracks, rock-climbing walls, and more, river ships are a bit more limited in terms of ship design. The width, length, and height of river ships are determined by the locks they have to traverse, and bridges they have to cruise under (especially in Europe), and other navigational considerations. This often means that river ships can look almost interchangeable on the outside (except, of course, for their cruise line livery), but it does mean that river cruise lines have to offer something to distinguish themselves from each other, usually with exclusive experiences and a wide range of activities onshore and aboard. You'll also tend to find fewer guests onboard river ships; on most rivers, you'll find on average just over 100 guests in Europe, or fewer on rivers further afield, as opposed to thousands cruising the oceans. There are few exceptions, except on the Yangtze, where you will be more likely to find 350-750 guests.

River ships may not be able to offer large-scale theatrical entertainment like many ocean ships, but they still offer entertainment nonetheless. It may be more low-key, but it often brings on a more authentic, local flavour onboard with guest entertainers, adding a bit of variety in the evenings. With overnight stays, or late departures, it's also possible to head out to experience some of the local nightlife for yourself, or special experiences, such as private concerts, exclusive dinners in extraordinary settings from castles to private vineyards, can also be offered by the cruise line, usually included in the cruise fare, or as an optional extra.

With the intimate settings offered on river boats, river cruises are perfect for couples, individuals, multi-generational families, and groups of friends - and even solo travellers! Plus many river cruises offer special themed cruises to suit guests' special interests, whether to appeal to foodies, wine or beer aficionados, music lovers, or keen historians.

Call, email or visit our river cruise specialists today to find the right river and river cruise for you!

Tall-ship sailing

Not all cruise ships are vast, floating resorts. Whether you're a traditionalist with an urge to sail the oceans on a smaller vessel with like-minded individuals or simply want to try something different, and yearn to set sail and let the wind take you to your destination, then a tall ship cruise could be ideal for you! Travellers get to know one another quickly, and new and enduring friendships are made.

Powered by the bluster of the ocean winds, tall ship sailing systems are still operated by hand by a talented deck crew - in itself an awe-inspiring thing to witness and experience! Being smaller than commercial cruise ships, tall ships boast unbounded access to some of the world's most beautiful and unfrequented ports.

In place of organised entertainment, you can enjoy the unique charm of your tall ship on your own watch, while itineraries are loaded with a wide variety of activities to suit almost any taste or interest - including kayaking, scuba diving, beach combing, shopping, golfing, hiking, nature tours and even a night sleeping under the stars!

Yacht cruises

Offering a dash of glamour and an intimate setting, yacht cruises are ideal for those looking for a relaxed ambience, for something different and exciting, for getting up close to beautiful destinations, and for water sports.

Whether you're looking to soak up the sunshine and beauty of the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean, discover the culture and history along the Adriatic coast and the Mediterranean, or explore the unique wildlife of the polar realms, get up close on a yacht cruise, and experience a different perspective!